4 lifeguards have been deployed on the world famous Grand Anse Beach as the Ministry of Tourism answers the call for more lifeguards to be stationed there. This move was prompted by last year’s tragedy where 3-year-old Caleb Fraser, from Grand Anse Valley, lost his life.
The lifeguards were outfitted with floatation aids, handheld two-way radio, bullhorns, and emergency kits and will soon be given ATVs to patrol the beach. Lifeguards will be on duty from 10 am to 6 pm. Sherman Bailey, a lifeguard for 11 years, is quite confident in his teammates’ ability to secure the beach and protect its users. “Some training we did was minor wounds and injuries and we did a lot of physical training, including having to run this whole beach sometimes 3 or 4 times for the day. We also had intense swimming with a 5-gallon bucket with a rope tied around our shoulders and we have to swim with it from one point to another, therefore I think we are all prepared for whatever.”
As part of their 6-month training, lifeguards are certified in administering first aid and are able to respond to emergency situations to swimmers who get into trouble while in the water anywhere along the 2-mile long stretch of beach.
“We are well aware that we have lost lives over the years in these very seemingly quiet waters. If you do not know how to navigate or know how to swim, then bad things can happen in a very good place, therefore, we have to be prepared. Fortunately, it is not a common occurrence, but the loss of one life is one life too many and therefore the ministry has learned its lesson,” said Minister for Tourism Dr Clarice Modeste Curwen.
An important aspect of drowning prevention is alerting beachgoers to the inherent dangers of swimming in the sea, coupled with the deployment of a lifeguard at all major beaches on the island. Minister Curwen said the ministry is also looking at ensuring beaches such as BBC and La Sagesse. “What we would like to do is to improve on the quality of what we are doing here, but we do have beaches like La Sagesse, Hope and BBC; these are the beaches that we were talking about that are more frequented so as soon as we have sorted out Grand Anse Beach and of course Bathway, with the necessary equipment, then the plan is that by the end of the year we expect to see some activity at the BBC and La Sagesse.”
The lifeguards are Sherman Bailey, Teon John, Alicia Persue and Lawrey George. Two other lifeguards are stationed at Bathway Beach.